In a world rife with stress and sensory overload, sometimes we need games as a way to meditate and unwind our daily stress. The following games immerse us in a soothing and healing consciousness that reminds us that it’s okay to take a step back and breathe once in a while. Read on to discover the most relaxing games that will help you on your way to blissful serenity.
Masters of all things serene, developers ThatGameCompany (the company that brought you Journey and Flow) offer the player the perfect resolution to a busy day.
Flower places a single petal in your control as you influence the direction and flow of a calming breeze. Exploring the dreary landscape, your presence and interaction cause color and life to bloom and burst around you. As you touch other flowers, they break free and join your expedition to create a hypnotic flow of petals coursing through the lush fields and valleys.
The orchestral soundtrack eases you into a tranquil and comforting state of mind as you observe and manipulate nature in an uplifting and mesmerizing fashion. Flower is a perfect metaphor for letting your worries fly away with the wind.
2. The Witness
Enter the 3D world of The Witness, a visually engrossing puzzle game bursting with masterfully designed puzzles and mysteries.
You wake in a strange place with no recollection of who you are. Quickly breaking free from this seemingly unoriginal concept, the island you explore soon becomes an intricate maze of fascinating mysteries, philosophical snippets and surprises.
Time seems to stand still as you are drawn into your surroundings. There is no sense of urgency; on the contrary, the game impels you to embrace your roaming solitude. Puzzles are presented in a 2D format and are suitably difficult but never taxing or stressful. You are encouraged to postpone puzzles that are too vexing and return when you feel ready. You soon realize that each element of the Island is cleverly intertwined and your peaceful haven becomes a rewarding and mystical revelation.
Truly a meditative experience, Proteus embraces us with an interactive visual and audial landscape that ignites curiosity and childlike carefree magic.
Ethereal in every aspect, you go anywhere your inquisitive soul desires on this enchanting island. Your only goal is to take in every second of your surroundings as you walk around and discover refreshing new sights and sounds.
The soundtrack adapts to your ever movement to create a perfect harmony. Each creature beats its rhythmic shuffle and every raindrop tinkles as the soothing synthesized soundtrack induces a pacified state. Like steady mindful breathing, it calms and distracts your burdened mind. Proteus makes you feel like a newborn opening your eyes for the first time, remembering what it was like in simpler times.
4. PLAYNE: The Meditation Game
As the title suggests, the game embraces the philosophy behind relaxation and mindfulness. Its sole purpose is to encourage and teach meditation to its players.
With nature abundantly around you, you sit by the campfire with a comforting and informative fox teaching you the basic skills needed to breathe, meditate and unwind. The world around you grows each successive day you return to ‘play’, rewarding your Zen efforts.
PLAYNE is the perfect accompaniment for those who want to meditate but struggle with motivation, lack of direction or the procrastinatory need for electronic distraction that modern life produces. Its gorgeous and fertile landscape nurtures a desire and respect for well-needed respite, and supports the habits needed to make meditation an everyday part of your life.
Eastshade Studios’ self-titled 2019 game is an RPG with a difference. There is no violence, no hostility, no threat and no tension. It is a game that literally depicts a picturesque world that is there for investigation and inspiration.
You play an artist looking to honor your late mother by searching for environments that perfectly capture her memories. The game requires you to forage, craft and sell in order to create the materials and means of travel needed to reach the places to paint your masterpieces. Charismatic and diverse NPCs offer you side-missions and tasks to add variety and drive to your ventures.
Paintings are created by finding your perfect spot, spreading out your canvas and screenshotting the ideal scene in front of you. Verdant forests, mystical mountains and architectural delights await your skilled hands in this highly detailed and graphically stunning creation. A game that instils you with purpose whilst giving you the gratifying sense of calm and wide-eyed captivation that travel and creativity deliver.
This Universe simulation game somehow manages to make the topic of ‘everything’ into an introspective and philosophical voyage. In a game where you can literally control everything from the smallest microbe to vast galaxies, Everything enchantingly offers you the opportunity to humbly think about your place within existence.
If that sounds a bit too restful for you, then you’ll appreciate the poignant and sometimes humorous conversations that spring up, breaking you from your hypnotic state and back into contemplative reverie.
Every creature and object you control gets added to a vast list, giving the player a reason to ‘collect’ as many as possible. But the best way to enjoy Everything is to get lost in the ambient soundtrack and float through this spellbinding creation.
Islanders is a self-proclaimed relaxing, minimalist strategy game. Intentionally simple, the game avoids the often demanding complexities of other city-builders.
There is no resource management, no time restraints and no frustrations. You simply build settlements on beautiful little islands using a predetermined inventory. The placement of your buildings gives different scores depending on the resources and environment surrounding them. For example, putting lumber mills alongside plentiful trees will increase your bonus.
When you have enough points you simply sit back and admire your creation or move on to the next procedurally generated island to go through the process again. Methodical, engaging and restorative, Islanders is an uplifting and creative breather.
Nothing says ‘peace and relaxation’ like the stillness of a snowy landscape. Arctico’s beauty lies in its isolated tranquillity.
Touted as a ‘survival game’ Arctico is actually far more about casual exploration and management. In a vast frozen wilderness blanketed by pristine white and serene silence, you lead your team of sled dogs around in search of resources, food and the remnants of your deceased mentor’s notes and findings. You build up your base with a goal towards self-sufficiency all the while spreading your searches further afield to scout out materials and provisions.
This is a sedate and (ironically) warming adventure. Nothing but the crunch of snow and the howl of the wind can be heard as you sled and kayak this icy tundra while the low-hanging sun casts its gentle glow.
9. Rabbit Meadow
The life of a rabbit is a simple one (well, if you take away the foxes and myriad other predators), so what better way to kick back and unwind than by hopping and leaping through lush meadows and forests with the sound of birdsong and wildlife all around.
Your objective is to merely prance around this open-woodland world in leporine revelry. There are quaint little tasks scattered throughout, such as jumping on frogs’ heads to trigger a chorus of croaking, colorful songs. Achievements pop up to congratulate you on digging up all the carrots or for reuniting a poor lost duck with its friends.
Rabbit Meadow reconstructs the healing elements that spending time in the great outdoors brings whilst simultaneously taking your mind off any worries and woes.
10. Cozy Grove
Possibly the most positive and heartening game you’ll ever find about ghosts and spirits, Cozy Grove cloud be described as a *ahem* spiritual sibling of Animal Crossing.
In a melancholic setting, you play as a ‘spirit scout’ who helps the spirits of Cosy Grove reconnect with the joys of life. By offering your altruistic services you imbue their world with color and positivity, turning them back to their former living selves.
The charming, melodic soundtrack is easy to listen to and your daily routine only takes an hour or so, encouraging players to return each day for a regular and habitual piece of beautifully hand-drawn meditation.
Keep up those chilled vibes and read about the ‘Best Text-Based Games’ or ‘How Pokémon Gen 9 could be the best yet’. Feeling a bit too relaxed? Wake up and learn how to ‘Get Better at Fighting Games’.